Friday, April 29, 2011

Latin's Not So Tough - by Greek & Stuff

Latin's Not So Tough - by Greek & Stuff

I was sent a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

So, we reviewed a great Latin program for the oldest member of the Bentz Laboratory...but, what was I going to do with some of the much younger testers? No fear, Latin's Not So Tough arrived!

We were sent the Student Worktext, Pronunciation CD, and Answer Key, this set sells for $51.40. You can see sample pages here.

I set it out, and Selah grabbed it right away - "I'll test this one, Mom!". So, off she went.

I have to tell you, she has independently been learning Latin! Can you believe it, a 7 year old, picked it up - without "mom intervention" and has been JOYFULLY learning Latin.

The workbook is easily understood, with several pages per lesson (36 lessons in all). Flashcards you can assemble are in the back of the book. She loves making off she goes! The Pronunciation CD helps her understand the correct sounds (no mom needed).

I am impressed by how easily we could implement Latin study into our routine. If you want something to give your students the Latin experience, but are a busy mom without the time (or desire) to study Latin alongside them, This is your program!

See what the other members of the Review crew thought here

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mother's Day - Download N Go

Happy Mother's Day!

Celebrate with this Download N Go unit study - called - Mother's Day!

How do you celebrate being a mom? This very HIGH calling...? Do you get a flower or plant, a card, maybe (if you're lucky) breakfast in bed?

This year - give yourself a gift! Do this Download N Go study with your dear children, and I guarantee you will be blessed. Amanda Bennett has done a wonderful job putting together a unit study, but more than that - a reminder of what we love about being "Mom".

Download N Go Unit studies are 5 day learning adventures. Each day you will learn more about the celebration of Mother's Day, What it is, How it's celebrated around the world, some preparations you can do, and goodies for you to enjoy. In addition, you will learn about a Biblical mother each day as well. I loved all the cooking with children suggestions throughout this study.

Best of all, all the work has already been done for you (this is your Mother's Day gift). You just Download and Go - every unit is packed with videos and links, book suggestions, notebook-style pages, and family fun activities to do together. We loved jamming out to Go Fish's Mom song... Plus, this Mother's Day unit features the components to make mom a special gift lapbook. (If you feel funny about making one with your kiddos for you - it's all there, so give it to Dad to make his job easier!)

Download N Go units are designed for K-4 - but, I can't keep all my children away from the computer when we are enjoying them. There are many titles to choose from - so you can find something for everyone in your family.

So, Moms - listen to me, take the time to explore Mother's Day, and thank God for giving you this wonderful, HIGH calling!

I was given a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the Review Crew
See what the other members of the review team thought

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Growing Healthy Homes - Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

Growing Healthy Homes - Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

I am so very excited to tell you about this! (and for those of you who "really" know me, and my not-so-healthy eating'll be pleasantly surprised.)
For years, I have tried to avoid becoming "healthy" know - eating organic, whole foods, exercise, blah, blah. But, after taking a look at Nutrition 101: Choose Life! - I've become a believer!

I was sent a ebook version of Nutrition 101: Choose Life! in exchange for my honest opinion of it as part of the TOS Review Crew.

"Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a three-in-one family nutrition and health program for all ages that presents the major body systems, how they function, their common health issues, the benefits of good food and the consequences of bad food. Its 448 pages include into six units:

1.The Brain and Nervous System
2.Digestion and Elimination
3.Respiration and Olfactory
4.Muscular and Skeletal Systems
5.Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
6.Endocrine System and Emotions.

Biblically based and packed with hands-on activities, science and art projects and nearly 80 family-friendly recipes, this program teaches and reinforces the why’s of what we should eat, not just “because I said so.” Containing a complete reference guide filled with nutrition facts, charts, practical tips and an exhaustive index, Nutrition 101: Choose Life! will serve as a constant resource for improved health and abundant living."

It's available either as a HUGE Hardcover printed volume for $99.95 or on CD-ROM for $79.95 (if you like to "have it all" - you can get the combo for $129.95).

Okay - I have to admit...I "know" we should be eating more healthy at the Bentz Laboratory. But, I've been avoiding this issue. Not anymore! This very well written (and not "preachy") unit study has changed my mind. The authors have put together a very good case for the how and why of nutrition and our bodies, and make a point - it is God we honor by taking care of our body.

Once I printed it out, (yes, the whole 448 page book - just because I love a book in my hands. You may want to just go ahead and get the book/CD-rom combo!) I couldn't put it down. Each unit is written in a very easy to understand format. I loved the receipes at the end of each unit, as well as the learning activities.

SALE:As a reader of the TOS Homeschool Crew, however, you have the chance to save 15% using the coupon code: TOScrew11 — and this is the same discount you would be able to get at a homeschool conference.

But, the information in the Apendices in the back - well, that's worth the price of the entire book, right there! Tons and tons of information you need to have to make healthy choices. Artificial sweetners, dairy, cleaning chemicals - just to name a few of them. This is actually a reference tool you can use over and over.

This Unit study combines a through study of the human body, and a through study of nutrition - all together in a Biblical, Christian manner. We have been studing Anatomy and Physiology this year, and this is the perfect complement to it.

If you are like me, "Health" has been a topic for your homeschool that you knew you "should" be teaching, but probably did not know where to start. Well, don't look any further - start with Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

I think this would be a perfect course for your local Co-op as well, and they offer co-op licenses for just $35.00!

See what the other members of the Review Crew thought here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Science Weekly

Science Weekly

(we were sent a complimentary copy as part of the TOS Review Crew in exchange for our honest opinion).Here's how they describe themselves:

"By 2025‚ 80% of the jobs in this country will require your child to have at least two years of mathematics and science beyond high school. In order to achieve this standard‚ a child must be exposed to science and mathematics in early elementary school.

Parents can no longer depend upon the schools to make this happen. Parents must intervene as early as possible in their child’s science and math education. Science Weekly is an excellent supplementary instructional tool for parents to help their child enhance his/her higher-ordered skills in science‚ math‚ reading and writing.*

Each issue of Science Weekly is written at six reading levels‚ covering grades K–6. This allows parents with two or more children to order the same topic for each child. It can’t get better. Now‚ there is no reason for a child to fall behind in science.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity. You can make it happen for as little as $19.95 per child‚ per year."

Well said -don't you think?!

Here are some of the topics for the year
Pulleys, Cats, The Flu, Glass, Fractions, Composting, The Science of Movies, The Science of Money, Scuba Diving, Poisonous Animals, Caves, Teeth, Deserts, Green Buildings, The Moon

You can see your own sample issue here

Be sure to check out the Interactive Online Formats here

We got Levels Pre-A through Level E on "The Flu". (Actually, great timing since we were just discussing this topic in our Human Anatomy and Physiology class for Co-op!)

Each level was a 4 page, colorful newsletter. Inside each were vocabulary, a weekly lab, Math, Storytelling or Writing activity and Challenges all customized to the appropriate grade level.

I liked how you could use this with different age children and all stay on the same topic. (Great for big families). They also send a page of Teacher Notes, so you have more in depth information as well.

The price of $19.95 per student for 15 issues is affordable (not so much for larger families...but, anything when you start "multiplying" "adds" up quickly! - get it, a math pun!)

All in all, I am a "science geek" and love anything that brings more science into our school. I didn't see anything supporting a Christian Worldview, but I didn't see anything in our issue that disagreed with it either...

See what the other reviewers on the team thought here

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Kinderbach is about establishing a music foundation for young children. Students learn note reading, rhythm, singing, vocabulary and a variety of other skills which provides them the basis for further education. It’s about much more than just playing the piano!

We were given an online subscription in exchange for our honest review as part of the TOS Review Crew.

Kinderbach teaches Young children (ages 3-7) the basics of music with 7 levels currently available. The program uses short, engaging lessons to teach the concepts. This is particularly useful for this age category.

Our Bentz Test Laboratory has lots of musicians... so it was fun to see an innovative, new approach to the traditional private (and expensive) lessons.

My younger children enjoyed meeting the characters. (And I found them helpful memory tools as well!) The lessons were short, and easy for the "youngers" to do on their own. In addition, lesson books and coloring pages rounded out the experience.

Kinderbach offers 2 free weeks of online lessons (regulary $7.99 per month)- so you have nothing to loose! DVD versions of the program are available starting at $40.45. Check out the pricing options here.

Songbooks are also available in several choices - see here As well as other Extras

We had a very enjoyable time exploring this program! And, with the high cost of private instruction and programs like Kindermusic... this is a fabulous, affordable alternative. In fact, my "youngers" were begging for their time to "practice" (something that requires bribery in the older crowd...)

See what the other members of the Review Crew thought Here

Go Go Kabongo

We were sent complimentary habitats in exchange for our honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

So what does GO GO KABONGO! teach?

"Kabongo games do not teach with “right” and “wrong” answers. Instead, they guide children toward better thinking by using an exciting, engaging game design. Children use a wide variety of critical-thinking and problem-solving strategies to play and progress, including these skills that are essential for reading::

Attention and focus:
Children must be able to focus on important clues and rule out other distracting factors in order to become efficient readers.

Working Memory: Children must be able to keep information in their short-term memories long enough to make sense of a word, sentence, or paragraph. For example, repeating ideas back to themselves can help kids remember and make sense of key messages.

Processing: Children use different “processing” techniques to derive meaning from what they see and hear.

Successive processing: In order to decode words effectively, children have to remember the letter sounds in order and assemble them into a whole. The same is true with words and sentences.

Simultaneous processing: As readers advance, they move more quickly through words and passages, “reducing” and organizing the information to make sense of it faster. For example, they begin to recognize certain words, taking each one in as a whole instead of letter by letter. Or, they repeat back the essence of a paragraph, culling out the less important ideas and focusing on the most important concepts.

Visualization: When children are presented with more information than they can easily remember, creating a mental picture often helps them process what is being described.

•Planning: Fluent readers take many factors into account each time they read. They use what they know about individual letters and words, their context in the passage, and their relationship to outside experiences. As children learn to read, they evaluate and apply various strategies, developing planning skills for future learning.

•Comprehension: All of the skills and strategies above support a child’s ability to derive meaning from what he or she reads. Good comprehension is essential to all kinds of learning, from language arts to science, social studies and more.

"Your child can start playing GOGO KABONGO! today for free--at no charge, with full access to Laughter Lake’s brain-boosting games and activities. You can expand the learning with two additional habitats – Galaxy Gardens and Twister Top which are $4.95 each. SPECIAL OFFER: SIGN UP NOW AND YOU GET THE GALAXY GARDENS HABITAT FREE! Hurry - this offer is only available for a limited time."

Now that you know what it is, and what it teaches, here's what the Bentz Test Laboratory thought. IT'S ALOT OF FUN!!!

My chosen tester is quoted "I don't think it's one of those boring "teaching" games, Mom. This is just for fun!". I think that quote speaks for itself... Too many times our kiddos can sniff out the "educational" games, and they will attempt resistance. But, Kabongo was so fun - he never caught onto my secret "educational" plot.

The programs allows you to explore several habitats (three different games in each habitat, each with six levels). But, they also got to customize their own character (they loved this!), decorate their treehouse, make a comic book, go on mini-quests, and even design their own skate park. All the while, learning important reading skills. The program will even send progress updates to Mom, so you will know what they are learning. Coloring and activity pages are also available to add to the experience. In fact, the Parent center had an entire page of useful Reading related articles that you can check out here.

I do recommend having computer time be fun and educational. GoGo Kabongo does not disappoint in either category. And for the price, you can't beat it!

Check out the Kabongo blog here
See what the other members of the Review Crew thought here

American Girl - Kaya Week 6

American Girl - Kaya Week 6

The Girls traveled to the kitchen for this week's club! (so glad I wasn't in charge of the cooking lesson ...)

They made a Berry Compote, homemade corn muffins (really, they don't all come from a box?) and Indian Fry Bread. I bet Kaya didn't have a food processor...

They were eager to add ingredients, stir, roll. But, not so eager to wait to eat!

When members of the MCA (masculine club of awesomeness) smelled the food - they kept stopping by the kitchen to get a "drink" - all the girls started calling them "blackfoots" and chasing them away! I think the "indian" lessons are sticking.

The food was delicious. Not all the girls liked the fruit, which surprised us - but, it left more for the moms!